David Bowie and the Buzz’s first live show took place on Thursday 10 February 1966 at Leicester’s Mecca Ballroom.
It followed three days of rehearsals in the ground floor flat above manager Ralph Horton’s apartment at 79 Warwick Square in London.
The Buzz were supporting the Graham Bond Organisation, whose ranks included future Cream members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Also on the bill were Jimmy James and the Vagabonds.
In addition to Bowie on vocals, the Buzz were John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson (guitar), Derek ‘Dek’ Fearnley (bass guitar), Derek ‘Chow’ Boyes (keyboards), and John ‘Ego’ Eager (drums).
We started gigging, ready or not, on the wild and windy winter’s night of Thursday 10th February 1966 at the Mecca Ballroom in Leicester. We were to be support act to The Graham Bond Organisation, and Jimmy James and the Vagabonds were also on the bill. As we dragged Chow’s musical furniture through the foyer of the ballroom, the doors burst open and a wild-eyed roadie with even wilder long red hair demanded in loud Cockney, “Where the f**k do we bring the gear in, ain’t ya got a stage door?” They did, and it was in fact the better way in, the wild roadie knew his stuff; Graham Bond had a Hammond B3 and a Leslie cabinet too. When The Graham Bond Organisation appeared on-stage, Graham got behind the B3, Jack Bruce walked on with his Gibson bass, and the wild-eyed roadie got behind the drum kit. He was Ginger Baker. The Graham Bond Organisation blew The Buzz away that night. It’s the only way to learn the trade, watching older, more experienced and more accomplished musicians go about their business, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Bowie & Hutch
Request: If anyone can help with the location of the Mecca Ballroom in Leicester, please leave a comment. A Google/Apple Maps link to the precise place would be hugely helpful, but failing that a detailed description would be much appreciated.
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